Moving DC to Newton Prep in Yr 7 - any experience views

(48 Posts)
OhDearConfused Fri 27-Apr-12 16:16:37

DS at state primary and going to take tests for selective schools (grammars, Graveney and usual south london indies at 11+) next time round.

Having a panic in case he doesn't make the grade for those. Reading other threads - where there is talk about moving to a prep at year 7 (which I hadn't thought about before) - I thought I would ask specifically about Newton Prep.

Anyone moved their DS to Newton Prep at yr 7?

Will a state school primary leaver (easily going to be level 5 throughout) fit in (no latin, etc..)?

How does the "selection" for entry at yr 7 to Newton Prep compare to selection for the super-selective grammars, Dulwich's, Alleyn's, and so on? I am assuming not so selective - but am I kidding myself?

If a bright (but "messed it up on the day") DC fails 11+, might they have more success at 13+ (of course indies only at this stage)? (Or will these schools not even look at him.....having failed 2 years earlier?)

KingscoteStaff Tue 04-Jun-13 16:26:49

That's very peculiar chialini, I am looking down the list of the boys who are staying at Newton for Year 7 and I can see boys with pre-test places at Kings, St Pauls, Westminster, Tonbridge, Radley, Eton... As far as I know, all of the 'stayers' have places. We are staying for 7 and 8 because of the superb teaching.

bico Wed 05-Jun-13 14:23:50

If they have 'pre-test places' don't you mean they have conditional offers (ie a firm offer of a place subject to passing CE)?

KingscoteStaff Wed 05-Jun-13 21:11:34

Yes, 'conditional' is the word I was looking for!

I was going to say they 'have places', but then thought I wouldn't tempt fate...

OhDearConfused Thu 06-Jun-13 10:34:17

Hello OP here. Interesting that this thread has come to life again. Still proceeding with 11+ attempt at the SW indies and the couple of grammars that are within reach. And so still interested in people's views as to whether it makes sense as a fall-back to go to NP from 2 years if it all went wrong.

Clearly, for example and an obvious potential problem, DS will not have done the pre-tests!

All thoughts welcome....

KingscoteStaff Thu 06-Jun-13 18:12:39

So where are you now - do you have any places for September or are you on any waiting lists?

I teach at a state primary, and have seen quite a few boys go to Newton, Thomases or Fulham Prep for 7 and 8.

As you say, the problem is that you've missed the pre tests. Dulwich and Alleyns do 13+ entrance exams at the start of Year 8, so they are possibilities. I'm sure there are others, (St James in Ashford?) but you would need to go into September really switched on about your plans and with the support of the prep school head.

The advantages would be two more years of maturity before moving him, small classes, opportunities for leadership, staff with experience of CE/13+ entrance exams.

scaevola Thu 06-Jun-13 18:15:40

Newton Prep isn't what it was.

But there is a new head starting there in September and people are pinning their hopes on her turning it into the school it should be.

OhDearConfused Fri 07-Jun-13 13:40:14

KingscoteStaff - he is still in Year 5 in a state primary. Just having a panic about what would happen if he didn't pass 11+ for Alleyns, Dulwich, City, etc. And the couple of GS's.

I'd be interested in more views as to whether the new head is making a difference yet...

carltonscroop Fri 07-Jun-13 13:47:24

The new head only starts this September.

She comes from Dulwich College Junior School, so one hopes is experienced in getting children to their (increasing) academic level for entrance. How quickly a school can be turned round and a reputation restored is anyone's guess.

OhDearConfused Tue 11-Jun-13 10:01:17

Thanks CarltonScroop. You seem to know the school well. Do you have DC there? Are they (you) happy with it?

chialini Tue 11-Jun-13 10:13:55

KingscoteStaff - My grandchild is staying because they have to. There are at least a further 3 children in the same boat. How do you know about pre-test places? I would have though that this information was not public information. Are you a Teacher there?

09870987 Tue 11-Jun-13 13:43:09

With pre tests, IME, DC take several tests. Those who get into KCS etc can generally get into other academic schools and are likely now sitting on 2-4 offers. It's the tail of DC with nothing at this stage that gets hidden in the "look at our wonderful results" PR and they get subsumed into the "staying put" column.

KingscoteStaff Tue 11-Jun-13 22:39:52

All of the boys in DS's friendship group have conditional places. I agree that there are probably 4 I don't know about.

We have nothing but good to say about Newton - the teaching has been superb for both our DC. Mr Allen (leaving head) has been very Marmite, but he has inspired DS and given us very good advice about secondaries. He doesn't have much of a bedside manner, but that wasn't a priority for me. However, when Newton won the Prep Schools Athletics thing on Monday, he personally congratulated every member of the team.

Traceydeborah Sun 16-Jun-13 23:07:12

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

OhDearConfused Tue 18-Jun-13 12:33:39

Oh dear - sorry to hear your DC had such a bad time of it.

I'm not sure how 13+ pre-test works. Is it possible that both you and KingscoteStaff are correct. Many kids failed 11+, but then at the same time got pre-tested conditional offers for 13+. Is that possible.

Lots of divergent views here!!

Needmoresleep Tue 18-Jun-13 18:58:51

The popular co-eds - Alleyns and Latymer Upper are tricky at 11+. Odds are as low as one in 10 and it is all about performance on the day. So it is perfectly possible to get, say, the Westminster pre-test and fail 11+. Indeed we know of boys to whom this has happened. However numbers will be small.

In fairly big preps like Newton you can expect there to be about one a year who is really unlucky. (Not Newton but we knew of one child who ended up on three or four wait lists none of which came through.)

The better question might be does the problem lie with girls or boys.

My impression was that the departing Head's background was in all-boy education and that he understood this process reasonably well. And indeed this was a factor for the school filling up at the top. (Yrs 7 & 8.) The process for girls is very different, centered around performance on the day 11+ exams. Because it was mixed Newton traditionally offered girls a more rounded education which stood applicants in good stead, particularly with the Dulwich schools for whom Newton was a recognised feeder. Central West London is different, with lots of small girls preps teaching very much to the test and staking their reputations on the numbers they can get into SPGS etc. Pupil demographics changed under the current head. Fewer buying their way out of Lambeth education and more from north of the river. Unless he was able to change the approach for girls quickly to meet the requirements of West London school entry, perhaps to match Thomas' who split the girls off earlier, there was always likely to be a number of disappointed parents.

OhDearConfused Wed 19-Jun-13 09:35:55

Thank you. Yes, worrying about this because of the being "unlucky on the day" (times 3 or 4) problem and not liking the state options locally.

The other concern I had was whether moving at Yr 7 is a good idea in general. You allude to the school filling up at Yrs 7 and 8 which sounds like it does often happen, but if you move from a state primary to a place like Newton, how do you get "up to speed" to do a pre-test in such short order. Or do some of the 13+ schools (the usual London suspects) allow for that?

meditrina Wed 19-Jun-13 12:16:48

Well, some schools pretest in year 6 and of they've made all their offers you are a bit stuck.

Others which test in year 7 or have flexibility so to do should take account of the reference should make educational path to date clear. So it can be allowed for, but you will perhaps need prep head's advice on which have a good track record for doing so.

Needmoresleep Wed 19-Jun-13 12:18:56

Pre-tests normally happen in Yr 6. However they are normally for the very competitive London days schools and boarding. Other schools, Dulwich etc, allow later entries and will know Newton and equivalents well.

You really need to check with the senior schools themselves.

Being unlucky on the day three or four times is very very rare, as long as you have pitched it right. And of the two cases I know of, one at least is pleased in retrospects to have had a chance to rethink, rather than have their child bump along the bottom in a competitive day school.

Also in fairness in DDs year, Newton's predictions for girls went wrong in both directions. Several girls including DD got into schools they were not expected to get. And she is fine. My guess is that Newton may have placed too much focus on CAT tests and the girls who did better than expected were the ones who would have had plenty to say at interview.

I also don't think it is fair to say that the best staff have all left. One of Newton's strengths was its staff room. I know some good teachers left, but plenty who we valued strongly still seem to be there. Overall and with an experienced new head, the school should be back on track. Apart from some problems towards the end of our time there, and then relating mainly to a difficult relationship with the out-going head, it was a fantastic school.

sanam2010 Thu 27-Jun-13 21:54:20

may I ask what the new head's name is?

OhDearConfused Fri 28-Jun-13 13:44:47

I think it is Alison Fleming the current head of Dulwich Junior

Michaelahpurple Sat 29-Jun-13 20:17:01

Very very good chap starting in September as deputy head, as part of the new team, for what it is worth

OhDearConfused Mon 01-Jul-13 09:28:04

Where is the new deputy from?

KingscoteStaff Tue 02-Jul-13 13:12:51

Westminster Under School. He's currently Head of Years 7 and 8 there.

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